Invertebrate Monitoring Relating to Predator Control: A Citizen Science Project at Ark in the Park, Auckland.

Don Morrison *1

1 Ark in the Park

Ark in the Park is a conservation and restoration project between Forest & Bird, and the Auckland Council to restore a unique piece of New Zealand rainforest at Cascade Kauri Park, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland. A five-year citizen science project aimed to investigate whether rat control is having a positive effect on the abundance of invertebrates within the park. The research was carried out by a group of conservation project volunteers based at the Ark in the Park in the Waitakere Ranges, and supported by Grace Hall (Landcare Research) and David Seldon  (Auckland University).It consisted of counting some easily identifiable invertebrate taxa (e.g., Mecodema, beetles, spiders and weta), which were collected three times a year from 72 pitfall traps. Half of pitfall traps were located within the predator-controlled area, and the other half were in similar locations without predator control. Results have showed that there is no significant link between predator control and invertebrate abundance as measured by this monitoring programme.  All samples have been stored at Landcare Research, Auckland and are available for further research.

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